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“Invictus”

(The Moth, NPR, Johnson Public House, Madison, 5/1/11)

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul. {best stanza in English, IMO}

In the fell clutch of…circumstance…
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the battering—the, the bludgeonings—of chance
My head is bloody, but…uh…unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and…and…fuck. Tears!
Looms also, or but, the Horror of the shade,
And…and…Jesus…“the menace of the days,” I think.
Finds and shall find me unafraid. YES.

It matters not how strait the gate, or—or—no,
not “or,” maybe “and”: “and charged with” something.
With… {What? Oh, right.} “Punishments.” {Thanks.}
Pretty sure there’s more, like a stanza more. But what

He’s saying, basically, and I’m not saying I have it all
down perfectly, is that even if your life gets really
crazy—no, I don’t mean “crazy”, I think I more mean
“circuitous”—you still have to trust in other people.

You can’t make it without friends, IOW. Friendship
is the point, basically. “Invictus”: friendship.
Anyway, that’s “Invictus,” by Emerson. He wrote it
in 1875, and honestly it’s always meant the world to me.

































Posted 03/31/15
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